Ok. But you've got to wonder. At a time when the healthcare industry is focused on evaluating doctors on meaningful quality metrics—the latest CMS physician quality reporting system rules are final as of Wednesday—whatever were these Alvarado physicians thinking?
In my opinion, the article was not just in poor taste, but its timing couldn't have been worse. If the SGR goes through, many doctors say they will reject Medicare patients altogether, cut their staffs, or resign from practice entirely.
Sent a copy of the article, California Medical Association spokesman Andrew Lamar in Sacramento weighed in.
"It would be wrong to assume that Medicare rates are adequate, or could be cut, simply because some private doctors who either don't participate in the program or serve almost entirely patients on private insurance, make a good living," LaMar says.
"The bottom line is a 30% reduction [revised to 25%] in Medicare reimbursements would be devastating to physicians and force many to quit taking new Medicare patients or drop out of the program altogether just to stay economically viable. There is little doubt that, as a result, seniors would have a tougher time getting access to a doctor," LaMar says.
Maybe these Alvarado doctors think this was just a fun and harmless diversion, compared with the tough decisions they make every day about patient care. But I think if they had thought this through to any degree, they might have at least waited until if and when the SGR issue is settled once and for all.